Rico Verhoeven (James Law/GLORY)

GLORY 33: New Jersey Preview and Predictions

GLORY kickboxing returns to the United States on Friday, Sept. 9, for GLORY 33: New Jersey. The promotion comes to the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton for the first time.

In the main event of evening, GLORY heavyweight world champion Rico Verhoeven clashes with Anderson “Braddock” Silva. The heavyweight champ puts his reputation and much more on the line when he meets the Brazilian knockout artist. It was announced this week that Verhoeven will fight top-10 heavyweight Badr Hari in one of the biggest heavyweight fights in recent kickboxing history at GLORY: Collision on Dec. 10.

The GLORY 33 main card features a featherweight contender tournament and a battle of top heavyweights. Top-10 heavyweight Hesdy Gerges returns to the GLORY ring after dropping a split decision in his most recent outing against No.1 contender Ismael Londt at GLORY 31. Gerges looks to return to form against rising prospect Guto Inocente. The Brazilian has won four consecutive bouts since leaving MMA and the UFC for kickboxing. Inocente recently beat former top-10 kickboxer Brian Douwes at GLORY 30.


Former featherweight champion Serhiy Adamchuk returns one event after losing his title to former and current GLORY champion Gabriel Varga at GLORY 32. The Ukrainian was on a five-fight winning streak inside the promotion before dropping the closely contested decision in July. Adamchuk will need to defeat the man with a thousand kicks, Giga Chikadze, and the winner of the other semifinal bout between Chi Bin Lim and promotional newcomer Matt Embree.

In the main event of the GLORY 33 Super Fight Series, GLORY middleweight champion Simon Marcus attempts to defend his title for the second time when he faces challenger Jason Wilnis. Marcus won the title in controversial fashion at GLORY 27 when former champion Artem Levin decided not to continue during the bout. Marcus didn’t leave any questions in the ring after dismantling Dustin Jacoby in his first title defense. Wilnis earned his shot at the title and a rematch with Marcus after defeating Joe Schilling at GLORY 30.

The GLORY Super Fight Series airs live at 8:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass. The GLORY 33 main card airs live at 11 p.m. ET on ESPN 2 and Eversport TV.

GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven takes on former top-10 heavyweight Anderson “Braddock” Silva before his scheduled mega-fight with Badr Hari in December. Is this an unnecessary risk by the promotion? If Verhoeven loses, does the match-up with Hari fall apart?

This fight does present an element of risk for the champ. Verhoeven will be the heavy favorite heading into this fight with Braddock, but that doesn’t change the fact that Silva presents dangerous issues for Verhoeven. Add in Verhoeven’s 2015 upset loss to Andrei Gerasimchuk — in his only bout outside the promotion in the past three and a half years — and the possibility of Verhoeven potentially overlooking Silva in favor of his upcoming showdown with Hari becomes more likely.

This fight could be dangerous depending on how the champion approaches the bout. Verhoeven fought on the inside and just outside of the dangerous high kick of Mladen Brestovac in his most recent outing at GLORY 28. He fought on the outside against the athletic Benjamin Adegbuyi for five rounds at GLORY 22 and then put him away with his crisp boxing combinations and one brutal right hand at GLORY 26. Verhoeven has put on the performances needed to get the big wins that have put him in the No.1 spot in the division.

That’s where Braddock comes in.

The 30-year-old Brazilian moved to the Netherlands many years ago to improve his skills to compete with the top heavyweights in the world. He certainly achieved those top wins when he beat four-time K-1 World GP champion Remy Bonjasky, Hesdy Gerges, Danyo Ilunga, Igor Jurković and many other top fighters. Silva has since moved back to Brazil and faced highs and lows during his time with GLORY.

Silva stumbled against top-10 heavyweight Jamal Ben Saddik in his return to the promotion at GLORY 23 after more than a year away from the GLORY heavyweight ranks. He turned his fortune around when he scored a dominant decision victory over American striker Maurice Greene at GLORY 27. Silva dropped a close and contestable decision against Ismael Londt in the GLORY 29 heavyweight contender tournament semifinals in his fourth failed tournament bid with the promotion. He returned to dominant form against German heavyweight Gordon Haupt at GLORY 32 in July.

It remains to be seen if Silva can put together his entire set of skills against the upper echelon of the division. It’s hard to go against the heavyweight champion with his long string of success in the division. Verhoeven holds victories over Daniel Ghiță, Gokhan Saki and many other top-10 heavyweights among his 10 wins in his past 11 fights. Silva will be battling uphill against Verhoeven, but the victory isn’t impossible. That’s why this is most likely an unnecessary risk for the promotion, but one the company is willing to chance because Verhoeven is such an excellent fighter.

If Verhoeven loses, the Hari fight won’t fall apart. It’s too big of a fight in a post-K1 World Grand Prix world.

GLORY middleweight champion Simon Marcus attempts to defend his title for the second time against No. 1 contender Jason Wilnis. Can Marcus ride the momentum of his first title defense, or will Wilnis pull off the biggest win of his career?

After being tied up in an eventful, but underwhelming rivalry with former GLORY champion Artem Levin for almost the entirety of the past year, Marcus is ready to face new challenges. He looked fantastic in his most recent outing against top-10 middleweight Dustin Jacoby. He controlled the pace and range of the one-sided, 25-minute fight against a dangerous power puncher. Marcus returned to dominant form after having his share of ups and downs over the past two years.

Marcus was defeated for the first time in his career when Joe Schilling put the Canadian to sleep in the fourth round of their GLORY: Last Man Standing middleweight tournament quarterfinal bout. The fight was an absolute war that ended when Schilling landed his patented right cross and put Marcus away for the first time in 40 fights. Marcus tasted defeat once more in 2015 against unheralded Chinese kickboxer Fang Bian. Bian dropped Marcus four times before the referee finally stepped in to stop the fight.

Wilnis will be looking to test the chin of Marcus in their rematch. The Dutch kickboxer has come into his own in his recent outings against Filip Verlinden and the aforementioned Schilling. Despite the controversy started by Schilling following his majority loss, Wilnis was on his way to winning two of the three rounds on two of the judges’ scorecards, whether the last second knockdown in the third round was called or not. Wilnis put on an impressive performance after dropping the first round to the more aggressive Schilling. He used his boxing and kicks to control the tempo of the latter two rounds and get his hand raised against the former top-five middleweight.

In the first meeting between Marcus and Wilnis, the fight took place in the finals for the middleweight contender tournament at GLORY 20. Marcus had an easier route to the finals in a slower-paced showdown with Wayne Barrett. Wilnis had to dig deep in an absolute battle with top-five middleweight Alex Pereira in his semifinal showdown. Wilnis was clearly damaged and tired heading into the fight, and Marcus knew just how to take advantage. Marcus pushed the pace of the fight early to go up on the scorecards. Marcus was able to use his superior Muay Thai skills with quick attacks inside and a little help from the referee. Wilnis did his best to fire back as the fight progressed, but Marcus used his reach advantage to keep Wilnis at a distance with his jab even while being pressured.

Marcus has the game plan to frustrate Wilnis, but whether or not he can keep that pace for five rounds is yet to be seen. Marcus was visibly tired after pressing so hard in the first three rounds against the dejected Wilnis. He will need to employ a similar game plan to avoid the sharp low kicks and boxing combinations of Wilnis. If the Dutchman can land to the body with some consistency, a feat he wasn’t able to achieve in the first fight, the head of Marcus will open up for the heavy punches of Wilnis. This fight will be much closer than the first, and it wouldn’t be too surprising if Wilnis were to score the upset.

The featherweight contender tournament features former GLORY champion Serhiy Adamchuk. Will he rebound after losing the title at GLORY 32, or will Giga Chikadze, Chi Bin Lim or promotional newcomer Matt Embree pull off the big upset? If Adamchuk wins, should he face Gabriel Varga in a rubber match next?

Adamchuk will be the heavy favorite heading into this contender tournament. The former champion has impressed over the past year as he has stepped up his level of competition. He shocked many when he defeated top-10 lightweight Marat Grigorian on just 48 hours’ notice at GLORY 22. He continued his ascent when he took a close decision victory over Varga at GLORY 25. Adamchuk defended his title against top-10 featherweight Mosab Amrani at GLORY 28 before picking up another victory against Mohammed El-Mir at GLORY 29 on short notice.

The resume of the 26-year-old has continued to build, but he was met with a bump in the road when he tasted defeat against Varga at GLORY 32. Adamchuk is getting right back to work just two months after his championship loss. He takes on the exciting Georgian Chikadze, who has found a home in the GLORY ring since switching to kickboxing full-time after competing in MMA. Chikadze has won three bouts with GLORY. He defeated Ken Tran, Kevin VanNostrand and, most recently, Chris Mauceri. Adamchuk will have an interesting fight on his hands when Chikadze starts to open up with his diverse kicking arsenal. However, don’t expect Chikadze to be able to hit the crafty southpaw with a fight-ending shot.

In the other semifinal bout, Lim returns after dropping his semifinal contest to the aforementioned Amrani during the GLORY 26 featherweight contender tournament. The South Korean returns to welcome promotional newcomer Embree. “Matics” will provide an interesting match-up for the aggressive Lim. The North American Muay Thai champion has honed his craft in Asia and now he makes his GLORY debut in what should be a wild fight.

Adamchuk will likely meet Embree in the finals of the tournament. The biggest question mark for Embree is how he will deal with not being able to use his full arsenal of elbows, knees and clinch attacks. Adamchuk is happy to let this fight play out in the clinch, but this could make the contest a little closer than expected if Embree can fire off a big knee or punch before the break. Embree has nothing to lose in this match-up, which makes for an interesting dynamic in what should be a gritty tournament final.

Adamchuk comes into this tournament with motivation of getting another crack at Varga, and it’s likely he will receive that opportunity with an impressive showing in both tournament bouts. It’s unclear how the promotion will approach the division in the future, but it seems like the company is putting a renewed focus on the featherweights. With the announcement of a featherweight title fight between Varga and former GLORY lightweight champion Robin van Roosmalen at GLORY 34, Adamchuk will be a prime candidate to face the winner.

Fight Card Predictions
Fight Prediction
HW: Rico Verhoeven (48-10, 12 KO) vs. Anderson “Braddock” Silva (40-4-1, 26 KO) Verhoeven by decision
Predicted Tournament Final (Adamchuk vs. Embree) Adamchuk by decision
HW: Hesdy Gerges (49-16-1, 23 KO) vs. Guto Inocente (31-7, 17 KO) Gerges by third-round knockout
FW tournament: Serhiy Adamchuk (33-6, 16 KO) vs. Giga Chikadze (35-4, 21 KO) Adamchuk by decision
FW tournament: Chi Bin Lim (69-18, 40 KO) vs. Matt Embree (37-7, 16 KO) Embree by second-round knockout
MW Title: Simon Marcus (44-2-2, 24 KO) vs. Jason Wilnis (28-6-1, 7 KO) Jason Wilnis by fourth-round knockout
HW: Chi Lewis-Parry (7-1, 3 KO) vs. Anthony McDonald (7-0, 6 KO) Lewis-Parry by first-round knockout
Women’s super BW tournament: Daniela Graf (24-4-1, 2 KO) vs. Jessica Gladstone (5-6, 2 KO) Graf by decision
WW: Francois Ambang (16-6, 6 KO) vs. Daniel Morales (0-2) Ambang by decision
FW: Kevin Vannostrand (12-1, 9 KO) vs. David Moore (6-1, 6 KO) Vannostrand by second-round knockout